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What is an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted living residences or assisted living facilities (ALFs) provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) ; coordination of services by outside healthcare providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

Assistance may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person.

Assisted living as it exists today emerged in the 1990s as an eldercare alternative on the continuum of care for people, normally seniors, for whom independent living is no longer appropriate but who do not need the 24-hour medical care provided by a nursing home. Assisted living is a philosophy of care and services promoting independence and dignity.

Within the United States assisted living spectrum, there is no nationally recognized definition of assisted living. Assisted living facilities are regulated and licensed at the US state level. More than two-thirds of the states use the licensure term "assisted living." Other licensure terms used for this philosophy of care include residential care home, assisted care living facilities, and personal care homes. Each state licensing agency has its own definition of the term it uses to describe assisted living. Because the term assisted living has not been defined in some states it is often a marketing term used by a variety of senior living communities, licensed or unlicensed

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A typical assisted living facility resident would usually be a senior citizen man or a woman who does not need the intensive care of a nursing home but prefers more companionship and needs some assistance in day-to-day living. Age groups will vary with every facility.

The Assisted Living Federation of America reports that the average age of assisted living residents is 86.9 years (female average age, 87.3; male average age, 85.7). Female residents (73.6%) outnumber male residents by almost 3 to 1. The majority (76.6%) of assisted living residents are widowed, and just over 12% are still married or have a significant other. The average length of stay for assisted living residents is 28.3 months (the median is 21.0 months).

Residents of assisted living facilities need not be concerned with daily meal preparation, because a central kitchen and dining facility typically provides three meals each day. The central dining facility also allows for visiting with others without having to leave home. This greatly reduces the isolation that elderly, disabled people may suffer when living alone and who are afraid (usually for physical reasons) to leave their homes.









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